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Valley Focus | Pacoima

Staff, Daughters See Award-Winning Act

April 24, 1998|ERIC RIMBERT

To commemorate Los Angeles' fifth annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day, a Pacoima dance drill and gospel team performed Thursday for an audience of workers and their daughters adjacent to City Hall.

The performance by Ladies First-n-II Hype Dance Drill and Gospel Team was organized by the city's Commission on the Status of Women.

The Pacoima troupe lived up to its name earlier this month when it won two first-place awards at the Chicago North Suburban Regional Drill Team Competition.

The dancers, 13 girls and two boys, won first place in the overall competition and in "fancy tricks," in which members are required to synchronize their steps to drum beats.

But winning is not so surprising to some members.

Shawnda George, 18, has been a team member for 2 1/2 years.

"To win first place is not such a big deal; we are used to that," she said.

"But to win the sweepstakes trophy, to be declared the best overall was worth it."

The group was formed by Vickie Johnson in 1984 to keep young kids in and around San Fernando Gardens out of trouble.

"I thought the team would be a good way to allow these young people to see different parts of the country and to meet different people," she said.

The group now works out of the Pacoima Community Youth Culture Center.

Although the team now has a place to practice, for the most recent competition, the dance troupe had to raise $4,000 for air fare and hotel accommodations.

"They did everything they could to raise money," said Connie Taylor-Broadous, center director.

"They held fund-raising banquets, baked cakes, sang gospel. I think the girls spent as much time raising money as they did dancing."

Sunshine Heard, 15, of Pacoima, has been on the team for 10 years.

"Being on the team is a lot of fun; all of my friends are on the drill team," she said.

The troupe will soon begin preparing for a competition in August.

Alicia White, 12, a team member for 5 1/2 years, appreciates the friends she's made and the trophies the team has won.

"But," she said, "my favorite thing is seeing this team turn from nothing into something."

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